Quick summary of building regulations: what homeowners need to know

We know that building regulations are the minimum standards to which your extension must be built. They govern literally every aspect of construction, exhaustively detailing how things should be. As a homeowner you aren’t expected to know the ins and outs of these, but it is handy to know the main stuff.

The regulations are enumerated over a suite of approved documents, or parts as they are known, with each approved document covering a different aspect of construction. Here is a quick summary of building regulations, at a glance[1][2].

Part A, covers structure. Requires structures to be designed and built safely and robustly, so as not to compromise the structural integrity of other buildings or structures.

Part B, covers fire safety. Governs fire risk management, fire prevention and the protection of people and property from fire.

Part C, covers site preparation and damp proofing. Controls adequate site preparation, weather-tightness, below-ground drainage and measures for dealing with land contaminants.

Part D, covers toxic substances. Particularly managing the risks associated with insulation materials.

Part E, covers soundproofing. Sound insulation in buildings and sound transference between buildings and dwellings.

Part F, covers ventilation. For the prevention of condensation and for standards of ventilation and air quality within buildings.

Part G, covers Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency. Outlines the minimum expected standards for washing and sanitation amenities, the provision of hot water as well as unvented hot water cylinder standards.

Part H, covers drainage and waste disposal. Lays down the requirements for drainage and sewage provision for foul, grey and rainwater.

Part J, covers heating appliances. Any appliance that burns fuel for heat is governed by here.

Part K, covers stairs, ramps and guards. Regulates the safety standards for stairways, ramps and ladders, measures to mitigate falls and collisions and impact in relation to windows and doors.

Part L, covers conservation of fuel and power. Aspects of energy efficiency across all facets of design and construction of buildings are controlled here.

Part M, covers disability access. Sets out measures for the access to and movement within buildings for people with disabilities.

Part N, covers glazing. Regulates the safe use of glazing on and within a buildings (in Wales only).

Part P, covers electrical safety. Lays down the requirements for the design, install, inspection and testing of electrical apparatus.

Part Q, covers security. Ensures that reasonable measures are taken to prevent break-ins (applicable in England only).

Part R, covers infrastructure of high speed electronic communications. Sets out requirements for the installation of cabling and devises delivering broadband speeds in excess of 30mbps.

Part 7, covers materials and workmanship. Insists on the use of ‘proper’ building materials in construction and for works to be carried out in a ‘workmanlike’ manner.

The full suite of approved documents are freely available online for further reading.

It is useful to have a quick summary of regulations to hand, so when you hear your Architect, Engineer, Building Control Inspector or Builder refer to them, you’ll be able to follow the conversation and speak the lingo.

If you would like some free planning advice, get in touch with us.